The new terminal almost became the perfect location for another Lost Places show. A little more than three years ago, the 5000 square meter new building and the associated infrastructure were handed over to their destination. But something was missing for the start of operations: official approval. And so Budweis Airport remained deserted.

The new terminal was therefore empty for a long time, most recently it was used as a refugee center. Only a few sports planes made their rounds next to it.

The 28 million euro project of an international airport, which was initiated in 2005 by the politicians of the city and the region after the withdrawal of the Czech military, threatened to become an investment ruin.

The plans of the operator of the Letiště České Budějovice were big. It was once said that the new Czech airport offered optimal conditions to meet the needs of low-cost airlines and tour operators.

There was talk of up to 600,000 travelers per year, with profitable operation being guaranteed from as little as 80,000 guests.

After repeated postponements, the first international scheduled flights should take off from Budweis in May 2020. But that never happened, as the outbreak of the pandemic threatened to deal the final deathblow to the project.

Finally, the two shareholders fell out, which led to the exit of the city of Budweis in 2020. Since then, the South Bohemian Region has been the sole owner.

The history of České Budějovice Airport dates back to the first half of the 20th century. On June 27, 1937, a plane took off for the first time on the occasion of a flight day. During the Second World War, the airport was used for training the German Air Force.

In 1947, the national airline CSA started civil air traffic on the Prague – Budweis route. But after just a few months, the government decided to use the site exclusively as a base for the Czechoslovakian military.

After the withdrawal of the military in 2005, Budweis Airport with its 2500 meter long runway was to be used for commercial air traffic. Politicians had the vision of lively charter traffic. With the airports in Prague, Brno (Brünn), Linz and Vienna, there are four international airports in the catchment area of ​​around 200 kilometers from České Budějovice.

Budweis wanted to entice passengers away from Linz Airport, which is only 90 kilometers away. But it never came to that. The Upper Austrian airport, like Brno Airport in the Czech Republic, has been fighting for years to add new scheduled connections. However, both can boast a diverse charter program.

Even the politicians therefore no longer really believed in the success of the airport project. But now that the necessary approvals and the Iata code JCL have been received, South Bohemia’s district captain Martin Kuba recently announced the start of a first charter flight from Budweis. “Almost nobody believed in it anymore, so I’m all the more pleased that we will start in summer 2023,” he said.

From August 2023, the Czech tour operator Cedok will operate flights twice a week from České Budějovice. A Smartwings Boeing 737-800 will fly to Rhodes and Antalya.

And so the airport operator dreams on. In addition to further charter flights, he is hoping for scheduled connections to Frankfurt and other hubs.

This article was written by Martin Dichler

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The original of this article “Airport renovated for 28 million euros becomes a refugee center” comes from aeroTelegraph.